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NAHL Saturday Scores: Bruins move into Central Finals with Game 4 shutout

Central Division Semi-Final, Game #4

Austin Bruins 1 @ Minot Minotauros 0 (Austin wins series, 3-1)

As predicted, each game of this series was based upon good defense and good goaltending, and there wasn’t a better example than Saturday’s Game 4. Both goalies, Austin’s Nick Lehr and Minot’s Tyler Parks, were on their game. Out of 67 combined shots, the game would just yield one goal and it would come in the 1st period. Off a face-off in the Minotauros defensive zone, Austin forward Brandon Wahlin won the puck clean and got a quick shot on goal that was stopped by Parks. However, the rebound bounced right out to John Simonson who banged home the loose puck for the only goal of the game. The rest of the game belonged to Lehr, who didn’t allow a goal for just his second shutout the entire season, with the last one coming on December 28th. Lehr stopped a total of 35 shots, while Parks made 31 saves. With the win, Austin now advances to the Central Division Finals, where they will take on the Bismarck Bobcats. Boxscore

West Division Semi-Final, Game #4

Fairbanks Ice Dogs 6 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 5 (Best of 5 series tied, 2-2)

The Kenai River Brown Bears mounted an epic 3rd period comeback and were less than two minutes from winning Game 4 and moving onto the West Finals. However, they are playing a team called the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, who have quickly built a reputation as a never say die team, especially come playoff time. Thus was the case on Saturday night. The Ice Dogs rolled out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st period courtesy of goals from Zack Rall, Jayson Angus and Max Birkinbine. Zac Lazzaro and Brad Duwe both scored in the 2nd period for the Brown Bears, which was sandwiched by a Fairbanks goal from Lawrence Cornellier to make it 4-2 after two periods. Kenai’s comeback started early in the 3rd as Jacob Davidson’s slapshot from long range had Steve Perry looking the wrong way, which allowed Mikhail Bushinski to sneak a goal in on the power play. Duwe tied the game up on a power play just over two minutes later to put the fans into a frenzy. With 7:48 left, the home crowd erupted as Lazzaro netted his second goal of the night and gave the Bears the lead for the first time. The Bears staved off a Fairbanks power play with five minutes to go, but with victory seemingly within reach, Taylor Munson barely slipped the puck past Evan McCarthy with 1:16 left to tie it up and ultimately send the game into overtime. It was then Garret Clemment who converted just four minutes into overtime as he put home a loose puck that bounced to his stick. The fifth and final game of the series will be back in Fairbanks on Monday, April 22nd. Boxscore

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